A Botany Lesson – Vandasina retusa

Why? Because anything else I post would ruin your buzz. This post however, will teach you about one of our tropical vines that grow up this way. That beats 10 minutes of MKR hey?

I’ve been watching this vine with mild interest ever since I first saw the leaf shape; see the hearts? Yeah, my mildly romantic side showing.

The heart shaped leaves of Vandsuna retusa

The heart shaped leaves of Vandsuna retusa

Then I saw the sprays of delicate, Sweet-Pea like flowers, and I liked it even more.

Purple/Pink sprays of Vandasina retusa flkowers

Purple/Pink sprays of Vandasina retusa flowers

The new growing tips are also quite delicate.

A growing tip on Vandasina retusa

A growing tip on Vandasina retusa

Vandasina retusa (aka Hardenbergia retusa) is an Australian native climber (also occurs in Papua New Guinea) that likes sandy, or at least well drained soil. They are restricted to the Northern Tropical coast and the Top end of the Northern Territory. However, I suspect they’ll happily grow jn any frost free area. They can be quite vigorous and will cover trees in the long term. They are also very good as large area ground covers (see the photo with the outlined trunk). The vines here are growing next to the house paddock clearing; right at the edge of the rainforest. One vine in particular has a very healthy base and is in the process of smothering some trees. The heart shaped leaflets grow to about 10cm across; flowers are about 1.5cm across, but grow in beautiful long sprays as seen above.

Foliage of Vandasina retusa covering tree branches

Foliage of Vandasina retusa covering tree branches

The trunk of this one took me by surprise. I didn’t expect it to be this thick (3-4cm diameter)

The trunk of Vandasina retusa, growing on the rainforest edge.

The trunk of Vandasina retusa, growing on the rainforest edge.

The base of the Vandasina retusa trunk

The base of the Vandasina retusa trunk

The trunk of Vandasina retusa reaching into the tree canopy

The trunk of Vandasina retusa reaching into the tree canopy

Botanical information about Vandasina retusa was sourced from ‘Australian Native Plants, Cultivation, Use in Landscaping and Propogation‘ (John W. Wrigley & Murray Fagg, 2013. Reed New Holland Publishers).

 

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